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Great Divide Ride Unearthed 

August 2023

Photo Credit Eddie Clark

Join me on my journey.

Follow along as I #RIDE FORWARD  on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route for my eighth time and establish a fastest known time from Jasper, Canada to the US/Mexico border (3080 miles).

See "Vision" statement below.



To bike the Continental Divide Corridor solo and unsupported as quickly as possible following Adventure Cycling Association’s 3083-mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from Jasper, Alberta, CA to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, US.


I am still obsessed with the challenge to unearth the deeper layers of this great puzzle; how to further focus my physical and mental skills to perfect fast travel on this route and my life’s mantra to #rideforward.



To inspire others to use the bicycle to benefit their physical and mental health; to pursue their dreams; to do challenging things; to think outside the box and follow a passion.
I am also riding on behalf of the Be Good Foundation. All donations will be dispersed through the Be Good Foundation to bikepack scholarships and other affiliated bike non-profits.


Donate to the Be Good Scholarship! 

Follow along as Jay Petervary gears up and prepares to #RIDE FORWARD on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route for his eighth time!

Jay is riding on behalf of the Be Good Foundation. All donations will be dispersed through the Be Good Foundation to bikepack scholarships and other affiliated bike non-profits.

Enriching communities by using the bicycle as a catalyst for healing, empowerment, and evolution.

To apply for a Be Good Foundation Scholarship fill out this form

On top of the scholarships one recipient will receive a Eskar Hayduke hardtail bike with bikepacking bags provided by Tailfin.



I will be sharing my approach on social media as I obsessively prepare. While on route I will make call-ins to MTBCast, describing my journey for immediate public broadcast. During my ride I will also be carrying a tracking device for everyone to follow my progress.


Also, I will be updating my social media pages regularly during the ride, with additional insights from legends of the sport and familiar faces from along the route. 

I want things to be as genuine, unplanned and in the moment as possible. I will be self-filming while on route. I will also be asking for some outside help with footage. The idea is for people that live on route to come out, randomly, and record some video, ask questions etc. I only ask that you don't interfere with the solo, unsupported spirit of my ride. I think this collective gathering of content will add an interesting touch to the final edit as all  footage will get weaved together to make this a “group quilt”. 

In the end we will produce a short film about the route, the history, and the ride. 

From 2007...


I intend to take my ultracycling techniques to a new level. This excites me and makes me nervous! I will be using a concept bike with some carefully chosen parts. The gear I carry will be minimal, the least I have ever carried, but enough. I will use a different strategy than in the past, while also applying my 25 years of endurance racing experience. My preparation will focus more on the “marginal gains” including a spreadsheet with split times and other data. 



Photo Credit Fred Marmsater
To 2023...

As a visionary and someone who likes to try new things this part is super exciting. It's a combination of proven things that have worked for me over the years but overall still a new concept and an experiment.


Frame: Custom Esker Titanium Mid-Tail with Fox Step-Cast fork

Controls: Shimano Di2 GRX/XTR, carbon PRO dropbar

Wheels: Carbon Bontrager Kovee 29" (No dynamo hub)

Tires: Continental RaceKings 2.2"

Luggage: Tailfin

Lighting: Exposure Lights

Saddle: Fizik Argo Adaptive 


Kit is based on style and goals. Decisions will be made on weight and asking myself if it is redundant and/or necessary. No sleep kit.

Read about the custom rig at Bike Mag or watch the Dirty Teeth MTB video

Racing the Continental Divide Mountain Bike Route: The Beginning

In 1997 the Adventure Cycling Association created and mapped a largely unpaved mountain bike route along the Rocky Mountain Continental Divide from the southern border of Canada to the northern border of Mexico.


In 1999 John Stamstad did an ITT (Individual Time Trial) of the 2500 mile border to border route establishing an FKT (Fastest Known Time) of  18 days and 5 hours.

After John set the first Fastest Known Time, others were inspired to challenge his time and race the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route . Over the years things have developed, morphed, and changed to what is now known as the Tour Divide, starting in Banff, Canada.  The Tour Divide was originally developed to bring a group of people together to challenge the route as John did in the spirit of a “solo self-supported ride” but with a common start date and time which is now know as the Grand Depart. Individual Time Trials of the route are also attempted and encouraged.


My history racing the
Great Divide Mountain Bike Route:

In 2007 I raced the Great Divide Race which followed the ACA Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) 2500 miles from Canada’s southern border near Eureka, Montana  to  Mexico’s northern border at Antelope Wells, New Mexico. I came back from that ride having discovered something I truly enjoyed doing, a passion that gave my life more meaning. I named it the "Hamburger and Ice Cream Tour". The icing on the cake was I was pretty good at ultra long distance bike racing. I beat the previous record by 24 hours. That was the start of my obsession with the route and solo unsupported long distance bike racing.

When I first raced the Great Divide Race in 2007 there were 18 starters. At that time the ACA was also scouting out an additional section to lengthen the GDMBR, starting 300 miles further north in Banff, Canada. That section was finalized and released in 2008. 

Matthew Lee, an early Great Divide Racer, lobbied to move the start of the 2008 race to the new starting point in Banff, Canada  but with differences in opinions with the organizers of the Great Divide Race, Matthew ended up announcing a group start in Banff and calling it the Tour Divide. Within a year or two racers adopted the new longer route and racing the Great Divide route was largely abandoned.

In 2009 I rode the new Tour Divide from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, 2800 miles, on a tandem bike with my wife Tracey. That was our first tandem ride! And that record time still holds.

In 2011 I attempted an Individual Time Trial to achieve the Fastest Known Time to race the Tour Divide. I was successful, with a time of 17 days 9 hours and 1 minute.               


In 2012 I attempted a second Individual Time Trail to achieve the Fastest Known Time to race the Tour Divide. I was successful, with a time of 15 days 16 hours and 14 minutes.

In 2015 I started with the Grand Depart group start of the Tour Divide and it came down to the last hundred miles with a three person sprint! I finished second with a time of 14 days 12 hours and 3 minutes.

In 2017 I started two days after the Tour Divide Grand Depart group start for a different experience. I finished 5th overall.

In 2021 the race was shortened to the Great Divide Classic COVID edition since the Canadian border was closed. It started at the same place as the original distance I raced in 2007. I had an absolute blast playing the racing game with another competitor almost the entire distance. I won by being patient and making a big push in the final days.


Overall I have spent over 100 nights and ridden over 20,000 miles on the route. 

The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route has become a part of my DNA.

My vision for future fastest known times on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route:

Over the years the race known as  the Tour Divide has incorporated multiple route deviations from the official Great Divide Mountain Bike Route mapped and published by the Adventure Cycling Association. The Tour Divide race route can even change year to year with "detours" due to remaining snow and wild fires. Even the recognized fastest known time for the Tour Divide Race is not the same course as the most current route of the Tour Divide. And now the Adventure Cycling Association has again lengthened the route to now start in Jasper, Canada, for a total of 3080 miles.

There are enough changes and differences that you can't compare the various routes and re-routes  when it comes to a record time. And the Tour Divide Race no longer starts at the official northern starting point.

Once established and sometimes extended, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route itself rarely changes. It is a constant.

The route information is very clear and accessible to everyone. And it is clear that the Route now starts in Jasper, Canada. So I suggest that the challenge to establish and beat a fastest known time on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route now start in Jasper Canada and strictly follow the official Great Divide Mountain Bike route mapped and published by the Adventure Cycling Association. In August of 2023 I will make this attempt.


Clips from Years Past


Please reach out if you would like to help fund the project!


Jay Petervary

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